Earl Grey Moonlight – A Reinvented Classic

When I was young, I despised Earl Grey tea.  It used to be a flowery, acidic cup of nastiness which my mum inexplicably enjoyed. Now I’ve grown up a little bit however, it’s not quite the abomination that I once thought.  In fact, I don’t mind a cup of it every now and then as a change to my usual Assam or Ceylon.

Still, I hadn’t planned on trying a loose leaf Earl Grey, not at this point on my tea adventure anyway.  I have been mainly supping my way through teas that are new to me; Yunnan, Masala Chai, Oolong, and the like.  It wasn’t too high up on my ‘to taste’ list as I thought I already knew what was on offer.  That was until Adagio Tea very kindly (or accidentally) included a sample of their Earl Grey Moonlight with my latest order!  This possible act of kindness meant that, all of sudden, Earl Grey was a high priority so I decided to do a bit of research into the regal sounding tipple, and give it a try sharpish.

So what’s with the name anyway? It’s always something I’ve heard and never questioned, I’d just assumed it was named after a posh guy who loved his tea.  Digging a little deeper though, it turns out that former Prime Minister Charles Earl Grey traveled to China on a diplomatic mission in 1830.  In return for all his efforts and good work, the Chinese people rewarding him with a special tea recipe so he could recreate the flavoursome beverage back in Britain.

A nice story isn’t it? But sadly, a complete lie.

Apart from the fact that black tea (or red tea in China) is drunk far less than other types of tea in China, the story really falls down when it turns out that Earl Grey never once set foot in the country! Unlike the varying stories of how the tea got its moniker, the recipe for a true Earl Grey tea has remained unchanged since its inception. A black tea infused with bergamot oil to give it a floral and citrus twist.


This particular Earl Grey is a take on the classic and includes natural vanilla and cream flavouring to soften and sweeten the black tea, and also blue cornflowers which, above anything, made it look pretty damn beautiful.

Without further ado, I popped the kettle and added a generous spoonful of the tea to my infuser.  After a few minutes of steeping, the tea was ready for tasting.

The flavours that I had once deplored were there, the unmistakable taste of the bergamot with its fruity and flowery finish were apparent and very enjoyable to my now adult (term used loosely) palate. In place of the usual astringency from the black tea though was a sweet vanilla finish which softened the tea, making it highly enjoyable and easy to drink.

Earl Grey tea and scones, is there a more British combination?
It was a mellowness that I didn’t usually associate with an Earl Grey, and one that I welcomed with open arms. Both refreshing and comforting, it is certainly a tea that I could see myself drinking again and again. Not bad for a freebie either!

Are you partial to a spot of Earl Grey? Have you ever tried a twist on a classic? Please leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you.

Ps. Just a quick one to tell you all that I now have a Facebook page. It’ll have links to all my latest posts as well as news and other little bits and bobs that you might find interesting. There’s a link in the footer if you want to check it out!


15 Comments Add yours

  1. I often wonder how sales of Earl Grey were affected by the “Picard” factor…


    1. Rory says:

      Until today I was completely unaware of this Picard factor, it has somehow completely passed me by. I’m sure it would have definitely helped boost sales though!


  2. nuttymumma says:

    I like your style 🙂
    I am Not a fan of Earl Grey tea, for the same reasons I think. i Love its scent but not its taste. i do notice vanilla can make a difference, someone else suggested cardamon pod?! but im more partial to other teas. (might do some monks blend right now)


    1. Rory says:

      The cardamom could be an interesting addition. It would add the floral notes but maybe in a way that complimented the bergamot. Might be worth a try!

      Good choice, it’s an oolong for me tonight with a post to follow sometime soon!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. nuttymumma says:

        enjoy your oolong!

        im into trying different teas but i think i am too turned off the earl grey to bother anymore. there are plenty of other choices out there! i look forward to reading more of your adventures !


      2. Rory says:

        That’s understandable, sometimes you just know when you don’t like something!

        Thank you, I look forward to yours too!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I do like the occasional cup of Earl Grey, and my preference was NOT started by Star Trek. I have several friends who tried it just because Picard did. Heh! I also enjoy Lady Grey, which is milder.

    Also, those are some lovely looking scones.


    1. Rory says:

      Hi L. J. You’re the second person that has mentioned the Star Trek thing! I’ve somehow completely missed it and wasn’t aware of Picard’s penchant for Earl Grey.

      Thank you, they were pretty tasty!


  4. wren08 says:

    Thank you for this review- I love Earl Grey and I’ve been curious about this variation on the theme.


    1. Rory says:

      Hi, I’m glad you liked it!

      I’d say it’s definitely worth a try, they come in sample packs so it’s a good way to give it a go without buying a large amount of it!


  5. Miriam C says:

    I tried Early Grey when I ordered a London Fog at Starbucks. I hated it 😦 I was really bummed too. But now I am thinking that one Starbucks order is probably not the best way to decide if I love or hate something…I think I will probably be trying again….


    1. Rory says:

      Oh no, that’s a shame!
      It’s one of those teas though that, if it’s made too strongly or not to your liking, it can be seriously unpleasant.
      Maybe this tea with added vanilla would be a good way to get used to the tea? Or maybe get some and play around with the steeping times, milk levels to see what works best for you.
      Hope you enjoy it!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve always liked Earl Grey. It’s something I’ve always had with family and friends. Different strokes. Was not aware of where the name came from. Funny!


    1. Rory says:

      It’s only recently that I’m starting to see the appeal, it was always too floral for me but now that’s ok!
      You’ll have to see if you can try this sweeter version to see what you think!


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